Updated: Jan 26
Immediate thought being in one of the largest cities in the world? This place is clean. Streets are spotless with TONS of people everywhere. Subway was very cool. Quick, efficient, and again, very clean. Regardless of how you count population, Shanghai is top three in the world and the highest by some measures. It's an enormous sprawling city that can take nearly two hours to cross using a car. It took Ivy and her sister an hour and a half by subway to get back their parents house on the other side of the city after we parted ways.
Slept late in a cozy bed and meandered my way to a late breakfast. Met up with Ivy for a trip to the Shanghai museum. They have a special show there that she wanted to see. The London national gallery has shared a large collection of European painters with Shanghai on a touring exhibit. All the way from early renaissance up through the late nineteenth century. My favorites were a Caravaggio and a William Turner. It was packed with people and there was a limit on how many people they allowed into the exhibit. Ivy had reserved tickets ahead of time. Here's what I mean by packed...
The museum had several Chinese exhibits as well. A large gallery of Chinese paintings that dated back more than one thousand years. Mostly done in black ink and completed on scrolls. More often than not a Chinese painting would be landscapes with trees, water, and hills. Each would also contain writing around the perimeter that would be explanatory or offer poetry. Here's some examples.
There were also galleries with regional clothing and a very cool jade exhibit. Ivy told me there are over fifty distinct Chinese regions that all have their own subcultures and history. The clothing gallery demonstrated this well.
We met up again with Michelle and LeiLei (sister and niece) afterwards for dinner. It was a Japanese restaurant that I liked a lot. Ivy had a beef and rice mix with ginger and I had a chicken and curry on rice dish. Both were great. We all headed back to Hongqioa station after to part ways. The airport and train station are in the same location. I can't imagine a more massive facility anywhere in the world. Check this out, and it's only showing a small portion of the airport. Oh wait, this is the "small" airport in Shanghai. Pudong airport is even bigger.
I got on a bullet train back to Hangzhou and they grabbed a subway back to her parents place. When I arrived back in Hangzhou I headed towards the ride hailing area to grab a taxi. There's always a gaggle of taxi drivers that try to grab you before you get to the legit taxi area. I stopped and interacted with one to see what sort of price I could get. The legit cost was a shade under $50RMB. This guy started at $150RMB, he got as low as $80RMB. I ended up spending $46RMB. I assume I looked like easy prey as a "laowei". The term means foreigner, but is used quite often as a pejorative meaning someone that doesn't belong.
That was a fun two days. So glad I took the leap and really glad I met Ivy. She's was very caring and hospitable always checking to make sure I was having a fun experience.